A frail pensioner was forced to wait for three hours on the cold, wet ground for an ambulance to arrive after he slipped outside his home and broke his ankle.

Michael Wilczynski suffered leg injuries after slipping on ice as he left his home in Edinburgh - ironically, to check up on a neighbour.

But the 71-year-old was left huddled in agony in the pouring rain desperately waiting for an ambulance.

His wife Patricia, 72, desperately called paramedics for help 12 times after being told not to move him.

Kind-hearted neighbours rallied to cover the retired civil servant in blankets, a tarpaulin sheet, and an umbrella while he waited in temperatures of just three degrees C.

His daughter Sara Wilczynska, 34, who drove from work to be by her father's side, described the situation as "a disgrace".

She said: "It is absolutely shocking, he was lying out there covered by blankets, umbrellas; we were having to bring him hot water bottles and cups of tea to keep him warm, but he had no pain relief for hours.

"Instead, he was left to sit on the pavement in the cold, in the pouring rain, he could have caught hypothermia or anything - it is a terrible way to treat anyone, let alone someone who is in their seventies.

"We could see he was in pain, he told us that, but there wasn't much we could do because we were told not to move him or give him any kind of painkiller."

Michael had initially been spotted on the ground by neighbours, who quickly alerted emergency services to his condition.

One resident on the street, who asked not to be named, said she was "hugely concerned" about leaving Michael in the "baltic" temperatures.

She added: "At one point, there were about a dozen of us standing around him, trying to do our best to help, but we were getting conflicting advice from the people at the emergency services, at NHS 24 and the local medical centre."

"Some of them said we should move him, but then others didn't.

"We just didn't know what to do and the ambulance crews seemed to be taking forever to arrive - it was just a shock."

Michael was finally transported to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary -- more than three hours after his fall -- where he was confirmed to have a badly broken ankle.

Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scottish Patients Association, said it showed ambulance services were being "stretched to the limit".

She said: "Emergency services are constantly under pressure, particularly at this time of year when the weather makes going outdoors more dangerous."

"Ambulance crews have to stay with patients in the accident and emergency department until they are signed over to staff at the hospitals, but with services struggling to cope with demand, all this does is take crews off the road.

"There is an added risk of a vulnerable pensioner being exposed to cold temperatures and possibly contracting an infection he could then take in to the hospital, causing further problems."

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "The service was experiencing an exceptionally high, out of the ordinary, level of demand in Edinburgh and across Scotland on Thursday, December 14 and we would like to apologise to the patient for the lengthy delay.

"All 999 calls are prioritised to ensure the sickest and most seriously injured patients, including those with immediately life-threatening conditions, are given the highest priority.

"We would ask members of the public to take care when out in icy conditions and only call 999 in genuine emergencies."